United States Attorney Ongoing Commitment to Supporting Service Members
Greenville, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that the United States Attorney’s Office demonstrated its commitment to support our nation’s men and women in uniform, including the protections for service members with disabilities under the Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act or the USERRA.
USERRA is a 1994 Federal law that establishes rights and responsibilities for uniformed service members and their civilian employers. Its origins date back to earlier statutes first enacted in 1940 shortly before the United States entered World War II, when so many Americans were ‘called to the colors’ in defense of our country. USERRA is intended to encourage non-career uniformed service so the United States can enjoy the protection of those Services, staffed by qualified people, while maintaining a balance with the needs of private and public employers who also depend on these same individuals.
On January 24, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office participated in training in Greenville, South Carolina, for Human Resource (HR) professionals on a wide variety of Federal Disability Employment laws. The event was sponsored by Touch the Future, Greenville CAN, Greenville Technical College, and Greenville chapter of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This highly successful, well-attended program was held at the Center for Manufacturing Innovation in Greenville.
AUSA Rob Sneed provided training on the USERRA, focusing on the rights of returning service members with disabilities. There were several other presenters, including from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC), Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
The lead organizer for the event was Ms. Sandy Hanebrink, Executive Director of Touch the Future, which is a non-profit organization that provides a wide range of services to individuals with disabilities, as well as those in the public and private sector. AUSA Rob Sneed worked with Ms. Hanebrink in organizing the event and recruiting speakers from the above-mentioned agencies that work in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in civil rights matters.
U.S. Attorney Drake stated that, “Over twenty years ago, in 1994 Congress passed, and the President signed the USERRA, following Desert Storm.” She added that USERRA strengthened and clarified protections for service members from prior federal statutes regarding military leave. According to U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, “Preventative law training events such as this are a win-win situation for both employers and service members in South Carolina. Employers benefit by becoming more knowledgeable about the law. Service members benefit when their companies avoid missteps.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office participation in this event demonstrates the continued commitment from the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to the Service Member and Veterans Initiative and civil rights program under federal disability laws.